A fond farewell to El Presidente of the Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival

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Monday, November 11 marked the end of an era for the Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival, as Mr Jim Barrie tendered his resignation as Honorary President.

Jim first began to “help” as he so modestly puts it, in 1973 when his daughter Barbara was crowned Eyemouth Herring Queen in the July of that year.

Since then, he has been a stalwart supporter of the local festival, firstly as a Committee member, chairperson, master of ceremonies and finally when he stepped down from the committee and was appointed Honorary President.

This all with the unfailing support and encouragement of his late wife Barbara.

In his time, Jim has had his fair share of moving and setting up stages, shifting chairs, tables and barriers, putting up bunting, marshalling and fundraising.

Sometimes in beautiful weather, other times, not so much ! Of course, this was after attending all the endless meetings throughout the year of planning how we are to achieve all that in the first place ! He did this with the boundless energy and a sense of humour we all know and love.

For many a year, he conducted the Crowning ceremony, welcoming all to Eyemouth to celebrate in the investiture of our new Queen, doing this in his own inimitable style with such ease. He has also had the pleasure of being the escort for EHQ 2011, Miss Rachel Lauder.

Latterly, an important job he held as President was overseeing the election of the new Eyemouth Herring Queen by chairing the Selection Panel.

He held this position up until 2015 when he handed the reins over to Rev Andy Haddow.

As President he was meticulous in the organisation of this important task, meeting at the school with the potential elects, collecting the applications, arranging the panel from all local organisations who wished to take part, and most importantly, making the girls who wished to be EHQ as relaxed as possible throughout the process.

There have been many changes to the festival over the years, however, Jim has seen them all, adapting with little effort and the commitment to overcome any hurdle. He also had the knowledge and experience to advise the ever-changing committee on what has gone well and what hasn’t in the past which was greatly appreciated.

It’s important to note that he attended all things EHQ as well as being quite busy doing other things.

The former Royal Marine worked full time as a secondary teacher then principle guidance teacher at Eyemouth High School, is a member of the Royal British Legion, attends the Royal Mission for Deep Sea Fisherman services, a member of the Hospital Comforts Fund, an active member of the Eyemouth Clachan Burns Club, has been a wonderful lay preacher in his day and not to mention all the work he still does as an Elder (as he has been for over 50 years) at Ayton Parish Church.

Elaine Peakman, vice convener, said: “ It is very hard to put into words, just how much Jim has done for EHQ over the years and no amount of praise could adequately convey what we as a committee think of him.

“We have had such a wonderful time with “El Presidente” as he is affectionately referred to, at the helm and will miss him terribly at our meetings. That said, I think it is fair to say that he will be not quite ready to give up the “smurf” polo shirt and hat as that is another resignation entirely…..

“We now welcome aboard the Rev Roo MacRae from Eyemouth Congregational Church as our new EHQ President. Thank you to Roo for taking us on and Jim, just thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything.”